Sunday, July 25, 2010

JRA... an abbreviation on cycling forums for just riding along and it usually precedes details of an unexpected occurrence. I was JRA yesterday afternoon in front of Fleet Farm on my way to do the Jordan Loop when a car sped by. There wasn't much more than a foot between us with the driver giving me the finger. A few years ago I would've responded in kind but now I simply wave and say 'thank you'. The driver no sooner got past me then moved into the left turn lane to go into Fleet Farm.


I followed close behind and met the kid as he exited his car. It's difficult to keep your cool when this sort of thing happens but I did my best. I asked him if he had any particular problem sharing the road with cyclists. He admonished me for being on the road at all and told me that my place was on the sidewalk. I politely explained that the law allows for me to be there in addition to a 3-foot buffer between my bike and any vehicle. He said, "that's fine but stay the fuck out of my way". I called him a punk and resumed my ride but not before getting a photo of his license plate and also a shot of him and his friend as they entered the store.

I got a mile down the road when I pulled over and called Lakeville police on their administrative line. I gave the dispatcher a brief scenario about what occurred.  She took my cellphone number and within a few minutes I was speaking with an officer in a squad car en route to Fleet Farm.  I told him that I have hundreds of thousands of drivers pass me safely on the road each year and of all those people, it's only ever 4-5 at the end of the year that stand out because of their aggressiveness and the danger they pose and this kid was one of them.

He said the car was registered to someone born in 1974 and that he was going to stop by their house and have a talk with the owner of the car. That's all I wanted. It's my hope that there will be a record of what happened in case the driver is involved in a similar incident so it can be shown that there may be some rage issues at play.

A few years ago I had a guy try to force me off the road in his black Volkswagon Jetta. The really disturbing part about that incident was that he had two children with him. Not only was the driver flipping me off but so were his kids. Some people shouldn't be allowed any sort of authority over young, impressionable minds.

I spent part of my weekend partitioning the hard-drive on my MacBook so I can utilize the Windows programs I need. I considered using VMware Fusion and may still go that route but for now, I'm content with Bootcamp, the program that came with my Mac for making it Windows capable.

I'm quite happy with my Mac so far. Whatever concerns I had about learning a new operating system were completely unnecessary. It's quite seamless.

My mom continues to make slow progress. Mornings are an especially difficult time for her as she finds herself struggling to do even the simplest tasks. With her heart pumping so inefficiently, she's not getting the necessary oxygen for her body.  My brother Tim recently moved in with her and I'm so grateful for that.

My grandmother died in October, 1969 and I remember our last trip to see her that summer. We were in her kitchen and Mom bent down to put her ear to her mother's chest to listen to her heart. She was shocked to hear how irregular her heartbeat was and described it as more fluttering than beating. My mom's heart is in a similar state now but she's got a pacemaker and drugs to sustain her; but for how long?

I'm in my early 50s and have just begun to contemplate my own mortality. I suspect there are phases we go through as we age with regard to our focus about the end of life. I'm curious to talk with my mom about her own feelings as she lives out her last years; her accomplishments, concerns, hopes, regrets and whatever else she'd like to talk about. Our conversations are seldom if ever very deep.

On the other end of our family's spectrum is Madden; Keith's daughter Lindsay and her husband Joe's son.  He was born May 7th and Tammy and I finally got a chance to spend some time with him last night.

And the circle continues.


Tim said...

Turning into a crotchety old man already, and Rachel isn't even gone yet...

I can't figure out which is more accurate:

Sgt. Hulka's version (at 1:00 and 2:24) or Dirty Harry's.

Kevin Gilmore said...

Love 'em both...can't make up my mind which would've worked best at the time!

No Longer a Factor said...

Kevin, I believe that law allowing a "3 foot buffer" between your bike and any vehicle also applied in terminal ATC when I was working. I recall seeing it used whenever we needed to sneak a jet past a small aircraft on the ILS (IFR conditions only, of course). Hah!

As for that "idiot" who hassled you while JRA - I'm sure he'll eventually be beaten senseless by a gang of outlaw bikers on Harleys. I'll keep my fingers crossed. Cheers ~ NLAF

Kevin Gilmore said...

NLaF, I don't wish the guy any harm but my gosh, what a mouthy little fella for his young age. If he learned the art of communication at home then I'm afraid the police officer's visit will be mostly amusing to him and his family. I'm real curious where all the anger comes from? He had way more than his share.

Thanks for stopping by.